Post #2: It all starts with your Philosophy

It all starts with your Philosophy.

Discussing baseball with parents who have watched me coach ask, how do I get my kids to do so well on the field? Is it 100 groundballs? Is it 100 swings a practice? Is it a magic contraption or training tool?

Well I wish it was that simple, but I explain that it all starts with me creating a coaching philosophy. Your philosophy requires self-reflection and a deep understanding of our personal motivation. Why am I here coaching these kids? What can I give my son? What can I give the team? What are my short-term goals and my long-term goals? All these questions foster your philosophy.

Here are some questions addressing this issue from a T-ball Coach who writes:

“I want to make our [team’s] philosophy is real for these kids.  It’s not just something I want to talk about – I want to put it into action.  How do you do this?  Is there a positive way to reward kids who live it out on the field?  Perhaps I could award the game ball based on who enacts the team philosophy during a particular game.”

– Tommy Allegood, T-ball Coach

Having a philosophy creates accountability. It also gives you wonderful perspective when the going gets tough. For example a losing streak, or rebellious kids creates a challenging environment. If you have established a tone to only win games, then your young players will break under pressure. But if your tone is to build people of character, they will rise up with pressure win or lose.

Create a philosophy and share it with everyone! Yes, your wife, your team, parents, your friends, or anyone who is willing to listen. Your philosophy can and will change over time. So the more you discuss the stronger it becomes.

A consistent approach and routine is key to the teams acceptance and integration of your philosophy. If you foster an environment of encouragement, you must teach and demonstrate what that means. You have to become and live what you preach. All kids need to be encouraged and appreciated to be motivated. So to answer Tommy’s question on how we do this it is important to:

  1. Create Clear and High Expectations. It takes Courage to be Encouraging, this is true because we typically don’t have the patience to weather out the time for kid to master a skill. Encourage them along the way and be patient.
  2. Speak clearly to the team on what you like. For example if my team is restless and we are having a hard time listening, I will slowly identify one player at a time who is focused and say “I like the way Johnny is listening…. I like the way Tony is focused…” until the whole group falls in line. Avoid breaking the spirit of a young kid by being too tough, be firm but without making a child feel like a small ant.
  3. Acknowledge those who struggle to achieve; not the ones who are gifted athletes. Your team stars know that they are good, they do not need a pat on the back all the time. The kids that need encouragement are the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th kid on your roster who are learning the game at a slower pace. Make a big deal about their growth and improvement for simple skills or practice.
  4. Educate your team on principles of Character. The Pyramid of Success by John Wooden is great model. You can explain each building block and how we can grow as player and human beings. I always save 5 minutes at the end of practice to discuss the building blocks.

The philosophy you create becomes your program. It is your coaching legacy. If you wish to learn more about creating a team or league philosophy please contact us. We conduct clinics on Philosophy building every year. My philosophy is to be clear and assume all players have no-knowledge of the game. I treat all players as if they will be superstars and that each person is Amazing.

Drop me a line and tell me your coaching philosophy.

Coach with Passion!
– Coach Jake Alba